The graves of Canadian soldiers lost in war are managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. This is the case in Holten. But it is the citizens of Holten and region who collected most of the funds to build the information centre.
They did this because they felt it was important to make sure future generations remember both the commitment to their freedom was achieved with the help of Canadian soldiers, and to underscore that freedom can be tenuous.
Before going to war my Uncle Lewis Gallant (left) worked with my grandfather in his garage. It was a happy family with him, my mother and grandmother.
Uncle Louie, the only name I knew him as, was called to the front lines in June of 1944, only days after I was born.
He would die in battle on April 9, 1945.
A lost son can never be replaced but my grandparents dotted on me, and I spent months of my formative years with them.
I always thought he had been killed in Holland since he was buried at the Holten Canadian War Cemetery in the Holten Netherlands. I found out before I left for Europe, quite by accident, that he had been killed in Sogel Germany.
A visit there would become an important part of this pilgrimage.
In Sogel Germany I would find the area where my uncle was killed in battle, and the first graveyard in which he was buried until Canadian war dead bodies were repatriated to the cemetery in Holten and other regions of Europe, depending on when and where they perished.
The people at the Sogel Information Forum have done an amazing job of collecting information on the history of the region, including all the Canadian battles and casualties.
The cemetery is now a lovely garden and the then hospital now a monastery, both run by monks today.
Interviews with the people of Holland and Germany tell the story of my pilgrimage, with reminders of a past war we cannot forget.
Edwin Van de Wolf talks about the cemetery and commitment of the Holten people @ 2 Minutes 30 Seconds
Velma Kroll, a regional teacher relates her history and why she brings the students here @ 8 Minutes 30 Seconds
Jordy Lansink 11 years old describes his emotions upon seeing the site and films @ 12 Minutes
Karen Lugenhorse relates a powerful story told by her grandfather @ 14 Minutes 40 Seconds
Mark Fraser, his mother was in concentration camp. He organizes the 2 major events @ 16 Minutes 40 Seconds
Bernd Eggert, Sogel Information Centre has gathered detailed information about war there. @ 23 Minutes 10 Seconds